Is it against the law for employers to turn me down for a job if I have a felony which is more than 7 years old?

UPDATED: Nov 3, 2011

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Is it against the law for employers to turn me down for a job if I have a felony which is more than 7 years old?

Asked on November 3, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Kentucky


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

No. The majority of states allow employers to use criminal records in making hiring decisions. However, in such a situation, the employer must show that there was "business necessity" for making the decision not to hire. Specifically, there must be some showing that the employer's policy is reasonably related to the requirements of the job.

Th fact is that many employers conduct pre-employment background checks to protect themselves against negligent hiring lawsuits. Such hiring occurs when employer knew or should have known that an employee was dangerous or unfit for a particular position. If an employee harms another person while in the course of their job duties, then an employer can be held legally liable. 

Additionally, a criminal record may ban an person from employment in certain fields/professions. For example, a criminal record might bar a person from employment in a banks or the security field (especially if a gun is required to be carried and the prospective employee is a felon), or in certain fields that require working with work elderly adults, children, etc.

You did not supply too many details of your employment situation. If you think that your rights may have been violated you need to contact your state's department of labor and/or consult with an employment law attorney in your area.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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